Book #4 Defending Jacob, William Landay
Synopsis: Told from the witness box of the court room of the grand jury, Andy Barber faces Neil Logiudice in an intense round of questioning related to the murder of a local boy, Ben. Logiudice is the Assistant District Attorney for Newton, Massachusetts, assigned to the case after the First Assistant is pulled off the investigation. Andy sits as a witness testifying in defense of his son Jacob who is accused of the murder after his fingerprint is found in blood on Ben’s jacket. Andy knows his son is innocent and he knows the prosecutor doesn’t have a strong case. He knows the case against his son is weak because Andy was the first assistant district attorney. Now Andy, his wife Laurie and Jacob are alienated in their town, distanced from friends because of the trial and scrutinized at every step. With his family crumbling and his son’s future uncertain, Andy is doing everything that he thinks is best to defend Jacob’s innocence.
My Impressions: Andy is written (not exactly living) proof of the things that parents are blind to about their own children, and because of that, he is a fierce opponent in the courtroom during the trial. You really have to respect his intentions as a parent and husband even if you can point out 10 things that he should do differently to improve the outcomes for his family. I think his devotion to protect them was the thing I enjoyed most about this book.
Andy narrates the book as a first-person account of events and at times as if you are reading his journal or as he is writing. The story is told from Andy’s memory of events and transcriptions from the courtroom to emphasize Andy’s defense. The style is very easy to follow and there is never doubt as to the sequence of events. The character development happens slowly and it was a while before I was really drawn into their stories. In fact I’m still not convinced I felt the vulnerability intended for Jacob, but being a sulky teen, that may have been intentional. The plot of the story reveals at a solid pace, methodically dropping hints and injecting small details that implore the reader to become judge and jury.
Why you should read it: It was a good book. It was an interesting book. It was a suspenseful book. It’s a relatable story in that you can appreciate what the characters must be feeling and yet hope to god it never happens to you! It’s a strong male protagonist that is just an everyday guy trying to do the right thing. I’m not sure this is the title that would first come to mind when a friend says “read anything good lately,” but it’s a good choice for something to promote discussion.
Book #4 in the bag!
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” ― J.K. Rowling